Children and young people witnessing abuse
Mums or dads who are experiencing domestic abuse don't always realise how it affects their child. They might think that because their child is in another room or doesn't see what's happening that they're not affected. But we know that living in a home where domestic abuse takes place can be really harmful for a child.
It can have a very serious impact on a child's behaviour and wellbeing, even if they're not directly harmed themselves. Children witnessing domestic abuse is recognised as 'significant harm' in law.
Domestic abuse can also be a sign that children are suffering another type of abuse or neglect.
The effects can last into adulthood. But, once they're in a safer and more stable environment, most children are able to recover from the effects of witnessing domestic abuse.
What you can do
It is very important that children living with domestic violence are kept safe. These are the safety messages parents should give their children:
- When you are scared or sad, you don’t need to keep secrets – tell someone you trust
- You are not to blame for what happens
- Everyone feels angry and frustrated sometimes, but violence is never okay
- It is okay to feel upset with Mum or Dad, but still love them
- It is okay to feel mixed up
- Stay out of fights
- Go to a safe place in the house
- Go to the neighbours or a safe place outside
- Ring the police if you are worried
- Help brothers and sisters to be safe.
Support services for children and young people
Victim Support DVRAP
Telephone: 0300 561 0077
Refuges, telephone, outreach, drop-in (Great Yarmouth and Norwich) and other services. Self or agency referrals.
Family Action Swaffham Well Family Service
Telephone: 01760 720302
Advice and support including counselling. Must be registered with specific GP practices.
Telephone: 0800 977 4077
Point 1 is a service for children and young people between the ages of 0-18 years who are experiencing the early signs of mental health difficulties and who are resident in Norfolk and have a Norfolk GP. Point 1 is a new service delivered by Ormiston Children & Families Trust, in partnership with the youth charity MAP and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).